Pick Wayne's Brain

December 28, 2013

It Was Never About Free Speech

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , , — Wayne A. Schneider @ 2:40 PM

As you may know by now, A&E Networks (a joint venture between the Hearst Corporation and Disney–ABC Television Group) has lifted its suspension of Duck Dynasty family patriarch Phil Robertson over comments he made in an interview with GQ magazine. The suspension was originally announced as “indefinite,” but it appears that by “indefinite” they meant “nine days.” And since this is in the middle of duck hunting season, and since by contractual agreement there would be no filming of the series during this-two-month period, the effect of the suspension was nil, nada, zip, nothing. Ten episodes already filmed will begin airing in mid-january with all the family members included, and when filming resumes all family members will again participate. So, despite the dustup and media frenzy over this, in the end nothing will change as far as the show itself is concerned. As Duck Dynasty is one of the most popular shows on cable television (they supposedly get over 13 million viewers each week, but those are industry estimates based on their own finagling of numbers), A&E just couldn’t bring itself to accept a possible drop in revenue should the family pull out of production altogether, which they threatened to do. Many famous conservatives flocked to their defense (couldn’t resist) and in doing so, they seemed to show a complete misunderstanding of what free speech is about.

Phil Robertson’s right to free speech was never (more…)

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December 21, 2013

What’s Your Comfort Level?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , , , , — Wayne A. Schneider @ 11:39 AM

After an interview in GQ magazine with Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson was published, in which Mr. Robertson had some harsh and completely inaccurate things to say about both gay people and what life was like for black people in the pre-civil rights days, a lot of conservative mouthpieces took to their various publications to support him. Stepping up to present his own hyperbolic testimonial was Red State founder and former CNN contributor, Erick Erickson.

Really, Erick? This idea gives you comfort? (more…)

December 14, 2013

A Year Wasted

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , — Wayne A. Schneider @ 8:53 AM

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past 53 weeks, you know that today marks the one-year anniversary since one of the most horrific mass shootings in our nation’s gun-crazed history. When twenty six- and seven-year-olds are shot to death by a lunatic with a gun, you would think a nation would jump up and down and demand that steps be taken to ensure this never happens again. Maybe some other nation, but not his one. Oh, it’s not as though nothing has changed. More than 200,000 people have joined anti-gun violence groups, but 194 children under the age of 12 have been killed by gun violence. There were 109 laws passed by state legislatures regarding guns, but 70 of those laws expanded gun rights while only 39 restricted them. (I would have preferred that it was 0-109, respectively.) And on the federal level, only one gun violence law passed, and that was a reauthorization of the Undetectable Firearms Act. (Why do laws like this have to be reauthorized? Do we envision a point where we’ll want undetectable firearms to be legal? Why isn’t this law permanent?) Of course, in all the debates about gun safety, the one thing that had almost universal support failed to become law – mandatory background checks on ALL gun sales. This was inexcusable. Again, why would anybody think it a good idea to let some gun sales go without a background check being performed, to make sure the person buying the gun is legally allowed to own one? I don’t care if you’re passing granddad’s old Winchester down to your 16-year-old son, you need to run that background check. And a background check needs to be a real background check, not a self-check where you just tell the dealer you’ve done nothing that would bar you from owning a gun. I mean, seriously, filling out a questionnaire whose answers will never be verified actually counts as a “background check” in some states? This is why I oppose the Conservative idea of “states’ rights.” It basically takes the “United” out of “The United States of America.” Obviously there are some things that should be determined by local government, but “some things” doesn’t mean “everything.”

We have a serious problem with guns in this country, and if it isn’t addressed soon more innocent children will die. Is your so-called non-militia-related gun ownership “right” really more important than the life of a child? Do we really believe the problems of the world can be solved with a gun? Why do we even listen to people who say the solution to the scourge of gun violence is more guns? Is the solution to the problem of nuclear proliferation more nuclear weapons? Is the solution to the problem of HIV spreading to have more unprotected sex? Is the solution to the problem of rampant stupidity in our country more stupidity?

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